Two former Obama administration officials duked it out Thursday night over who was properly “fulfilling the legacy” of the 44th president, as former Vice President Joe Biden and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro clashed on health care during the third Democratic debate.
Castro claimed that his vision of a “Medicare-for-all” type of plan was more true to former President Barack Obama’s health care philosophy than Biden’s plan, which would leave private insurance alone while providing a public option.
“I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not,” Castro said.
“That’ll be a surprise to him,” Biden fired back.
Castro also took a shot at Biden’s memory, accusing him of contradicting himself about whether Americans would have to buy into a public health care option under his plan or if they would be automatically enrolled.
“I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in, and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in,” Castro said. “You’re forgetting that!”
Biden’s mental acuity has been a topic of discussion in recent months, leading his neurosurgeon to issue a statement saying there is nothing wrong with him following a string of gaffes in August.
Biden defended himself by stating that his plan would automatically enroll those who could not afford insurance, but that others would be able to opt in.
When the heated exchange was over, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg lamented that bickering between candidates is why people don’t like to watch debates.
“That’s called a Democratic primary election,” Castro said.